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Networking on the Move

April 2, 2010
By H. Mosher

Networking on the move is the newest capability coming to the warfighter, writes Linton Wells II in this month's Incoming column. He goes on to speculate what this might look like, but notes several challenges along the way.

Networking on the move is the wave of the future in the complex physical environments where ground forces operate. Such environments may be urban or rural, broad- maneuver battlefields or terrain around forward operating bases. As communications shift from circuit-switched to packet-switched, line-of-sight connections with one radio in a network can provide connectivity to all radios in a cluster. Unified capabilities-voice, video and data-along with more classified information are moving closer to the tactical edge. Future systems will be modular; reconfigurable to meet the changing needs of mission, enemy, troops, terrain and time (METT-T); and scalable to task and purpose. Future radios will be upgradeable as technology advances. And, radios increasingly will be agile enough to adapt spectrum use to local circumstances.

So what's not to like? Consider a few important challenges: weight and power, spectrum availability, satellite access, coalition interoperability and balancing the cost and capabilities of software-defined radios to user needs.

Wells expands on these challenges in the article, which you can read here. But it leads to an interesting question, one which we'd like to hear from SIGNAL readers on. How can industry rise to meet these challenges?

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